Ebola Virus: Should We Be Prepared?
By Fatima Patel
Global health authorities are concerned as the world’s worst Ebola epidemic has spread from Guinea, West Africa to North America and Europe.
There is always grave concern with the spread of any disease fortunately though, so far there have been no reports of the deadly virus entering the UK.
Experts say chances are slim, but caution must always be maintained as people are entering in and out of the country, as travel brings with it the potential for the spread of this serious and believed to be fatal disease.
Especially with the movement of people between countries through travel brings with it the potential for the spread of this serious and usually fatal disease. However, we can all rest assured that contingencies are in place to help protect us against contracting the virus.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a disease of humans and other mammals caused by an ebola virus. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and
three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, musclepain and headaches. Then, vomiting, diarrhea and rash usually follows, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Around this time,infected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally.
Death, if it occurs, is typically six to sixteen days after symptoms appear and is often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss.
Important things to remember are:
- Ebola isn’t airborne, so you can’t get it from people coughing and sneezing.
- Almost everyone who has caughtEbola was caring for someone sick withit. So unless you’re doing that you are unlikely to get it.
- You’re not infectious unless you are showing symptoms of the disease.
- It is likely we will see some cases in the UK but numbers will remain very low
- If you have returned from West Africa or an affected country and feel unwell, don’t go to A & E or the GP but call 111 to be assessed over the phone.
Downing Street has announced that screenings will be taking place at airports for passengers travelling from the main Ebola-affected regions in West Africa – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – where the death toll has reportedly risen to around 4,500.
They have been in contact with, andonward travel arrangements, as well as possible medical assessment conducted by trained medical personnel. Contingency planning is also under way, including a national exercise to make sure the country is fully prepared.
Aviation Development Director, Tony Hallwood at Leeds Bradford International Airport said, “LBA are not being affected by Ebola at present and we have no additional passenger checks in operation.
“LBA have however now placed information posters in the arrival zones across the airport to inform any passenger returning from West Africa of the Ebola symptoms and what action to take.
“LBA will be monitoring the position with the appropriate regulatory bodies including the Department of Transport and will introduce any further measures as required.”
Although we weren’t able to get a statement from Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS foundation Trust at the ̀ time of going to print it is assuring to see that UK hospitals have a proven track record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and have well developed, well tested NHS systems for managing unusual diseases.
Chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, says: In line with international ̀ health requirements, exit screening arrangements have already been implemented in the affected countries to ensure any passenger showing signs of Ebola is prevented from leaving the country.”
“Although the risk to the UK remains low, in view of concern about the growing number of cases, it is right to ensure that any potential cases arriving in the UK are identified as quickly as possible. Rapid access to healthcare services by someone infected with Ebola is not only important for their health but also key to reducing the risk of transmission.”
“We remain alert and prepared, should a case be identified here. We have well tested processes in place.”
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